For Release: Friday, June 27, 2003
2002 Credit Card Armies Study Described Exact Scenario
WASHINGTON, DC – A federal terrorism indictment released today by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia tracks exactly a scenario the Violence Policy Center (VPC) warned against in its 2002 study Credit Card Armies: Firearms and Training for Terror in the United States.
The VPC report described the ease with which potential terrorists can arm themselves under America’s weak gun laws. The study included excerpts from a terrorist training manual, “How Can I Train Myself for Jihad,” which contains a section on firearms training, with this advice: “In other countries, e.g. some states of USA, South Africa, it is perfectly legal for members of the public to own certain types of firearms. If you live in such a country, obtain an assault rifle legally, preferably AK-47 or variations, learn how to use it properly and go and practice in the areas allowed for such training.”
The indictment described in detail how a group of conspirators in the suburbs of Washington, DC, did exactly that, buying and training with assault weapons freely available in the American gun market.
“Ironically, the alleged terrorists even used credit cards to make purchases central to their conspiracy,” said Tom Diaz, VPC senior policy analyst and author of Credit Card Armies. “The indictment paints a frightening picture of how the alleged terrorists were able to build an arsenal and train with it. Unfortunately, preventing access to these military style weapons is the one area of the war on terror that the Ashcroft Justice Department has chosen to ignore. Anyone reading this indictment understands the need to renew and strengthen the federal assault weapons ban which is scheduled to expire on September 13, 2004, unless Congress takes action.”